Introduction: 50 Ways to Use Cardboard
Cardboard is a material that is all around us in one way or the other and yet has many uses. Over the years I have seen and made uses of cardboard for different types of applications which I will share with you all.
Feel free to comment, share try the ideas yourself and improve upon anything that can be done.
Step 1: 1 - Use As Door Mats
Cardboard can be used as door mats especially when there is high traffic. They are easy to put in place and then change/ removed when dirty and discard of easily. There is no need to wash,clean, dry and store as opposed to other door mats like rubber or cloth.
Step 2: 2 - Put on Slippery Surface
In areas where there is rain and the gound became muddy, put the cardboard in place which in turn will allow people to walk on to prevent any slip when moving towards the different areas. Will also help to move on more comfortably instead of small steps.
Step 3: 3 - Put in Toilet Floor
In the toilet we usually have tiles on the floor to facilitate in cleaning and be at ease. However when water is spread on tiles it becomes dangerous as people can easily slip fall. One common solution is to buy toilet mats to put around the toilet bowl and in front. For normal people the solution works fine and the mats can be changed after some time to be cleaned and replaced.
However in my case, my grandma has come into a stage of dementia and she usually forgets about the basic things like close the tap or even flush. What happens is that each and everytime that she will go to the bathroom she will let the water run which eventually will flood the whole bathroom. So just imagine having to constantly change the cloth floor mats and once where which we had to replace up to 5 times before leaving the floor bare. There is also the issue when she might not sit well and there will be excrement spread around which is a nightmare to clean.
The solution was that since we could easily and readily get cardboard around, we decided to ditch the floor mats and just use cardboard instead. When the cardboard is wet people won't slip, can be easily removed and replaced, if only wet and clean can be put in the sun to let dry and reuse for a second time. Finally if excrement falls onto the cardboard its easy to just remove and replace.
Step 4: 4 - Sun Protection
There are many situations where we are exposed to the harsh sun and have nothing to cover ourselves. If we have a piece of cardboard, I remember in school we had sketchpad where the back was cardboard and while on the way to the bus station and while waiting for the bus we were always exposed to the sun.
So we would take the sketchpad and protect our exposed sides by holding it in place and adapting to where we would move.
Step 5: 5 - Use As Storage
Since I buy many things online and many of them gets delivered in different boxes of different sizes. Instead of just getting rid of them I take the time to store them in place. Then when I need a specific box of a specific size, I just take it out and use it.
My uses would be different from storing computer parts to some ongoing projects.
Step 6: 6 - Use for Groceries
Boxes are convenient to put groceries in especially when buying in different quantities where different sizes will fit different boxes. Also cardboard boxes are very much more tougher that cheap plastic bags. The boxes can be reused home later on for other uses.
Step 7: 7 - Use in Concrete
Another project of mine was to build slabs of concrete. From past experiences pouring concrete on solid ground will just make the concrete to stick and very difficult if not impossible to remove unless broken.
One way is to use cardboard and cut to the required length that will be needed, lay on the ground then put the mould onto the cardboard. Then the concrete can be poured into the mould and let it sit. Afterwards the mould can be dissambled and each slabs removed easily. No need to worry about the pieces being stuck to the slabs as with time the cardboard will degrade in nature and will be underneath.
Step 8: 8 - Protect Freshly Poured Water Drain / Holes
When I would clean my toilet I always needed to take huge amount of water out and take time to dry the bath room with cloth and mop. After some time we decided to add a water drain which would make our lives easier and less water to remove.
After drilling the hole and positioning the drain mould, the center cover had to be removed so as to properly align and level it. With all 4 sides already filled in with concrete it was difficult to close up with its cover and we needed to wait atleast 1 day. After the drain has been put in its place and secured in with concrete, I wetted pieces of cardboard which then put inside the hole that will in place prevent concrete and other debris to get into the hole but also prevent rats and other insects to get in the bathroom.
After aday of sitting and everything fixed in place, the cardboard can removed and the cover put back into the mould.
Step 9: 9 - Heatsource to Use As Cover When Outside and As Mattress
Ok this one I take it from homeless people who sleep outside and usually have cardboard all around them. Many people don't seem to get why they have cardboard all over. The thing is that when I was small I would always sleep in huge boxes as it would always feel warm and comfortable.
So if someone is sleeping outside or in a corner, put some pieces of cardboard on the ground and then use other larger pieces to use as cover. Hint if you can get a cardboard box and dissamble it you will be able to unfold it which you can use to properly cover your both sides and up with a single piece instead of having many pieces to cover yourself.
Step 10: 10 - Use As Compost
For every bit and pieces of cardboard in whatever condition that they are in, just take them and break into bits and pieces, water them and mix with soil and other discarded vegetables. With time everything will break down and the soil will be denser which you can use as fertilizer or just use to grow plants.
Just be careful to remove the pins and other metal parts that you might hurt yourself. Also plastic tape to be removed as those don't break down and will just mess things around.
Step 11: 11 - Use to Start Fire
I usually have piles of woods and other things that I need to burn and usually when the things to burn are quite thick, it takes much time to heat up and start to get the fire going. What I do is that I put the smallest wood pieces onto the ground and higher, then I put the cardboard inbetween and inside the cardboard I put newpapers.
From there the newspaper will light up first which in turn will heat up the cardboard and then will light a bigger and intensier fire. This will run longer and to give more time for the wood pieces to light up which will in turn light up the whole pile and burn off all together.
Step 12: 12 - to Protect Floor
One thing that I have seen is that my parents works with people that are very meticulous about their stuffs. One of them have premiuim hard wood flooring that they take great care of with each room having their own slippers.
When having guests over one way that they can protect their wood floor without worry much about it is to only open areas that will be used and then use many cardboard and tape them together which will make people to walk on and use them.
Step 13: 13 - Use Shipping Boxes As Grow Box
My first instructables was to use shipping packets to grow plants in and I also included a shipping box. At that time I didn't think that boxes will work as it would easily be damaged with water and wear off. The thing is that those small cardboard boxes are easy and ideal for seed starters and will eventually degrade with the soil.
Also some cardboard packaging comes in with bubble wrap on the inside or some sort of plastics. These are also great for planting and can last some time. When all the paper has degraded then just take out the plastic and throw away.
Here is the link to my first instructables: https://www.instructables.com/id/Using-shipping-Packets-to-grow-plants/
Step 14: 14 - Use Cardboard As Led Light Panels
As a DIY and cheap alternative to led light panels, I was in a hurry and wanted to make my own so I looked around for the parts and pieces that I had laying around and decided to make my own.
As a base structure the led light and other components were affix to cardboard which was light and easy to manage.
Here is a link to my instructables if you want to build it: https://www.instructables.com/id/Led-Light-Panel-1/
Step 15: 15 - Cardboard to Protect Ground When Doing Paint Works
During renovation when using paint to cover the walls and ceiling, there is much paint that is spilled over and take quite some time to clean which might even destroy or damage some other materials as flooring or furniture.
Many cardboard pieces can be linked together or moved along as the job is progressed which will in turn catch any of the paint particles that will fall down. Then the cardboard can just be discarded.
Step 16: 16 - Stencils
Cardboard is a great way to make art stencils which can then be used to spray paint over. This can be reused to make as many artworks. Just use scissors and cutters to make them. Cheap and easy which anyone can easily do.
i tried to make a house but did not turn out that great :(
Step 17: 17 - Use Cardboard As Notepad
When I bought my boxes, each one of them had a piece of Cardboard inside. At first I just put them on my table to later get rid of. Then I kept getting ideas and things to do that I used those cardboard pieces and started noting things down.
Seeing the potential and since I paid for those, better put to use before discarding them. As I accomplish the things that I have done, I just cross each one until the whole thing is used.
Step 18: 18 - Use to Keep Food Warm
When going to the beach since little with my parents we always wrapped our hot food from home till we reach the seaside and then would open and take out the food which was always warm. I never really paid attention to that or even interested in.
Then in form 1 in secondary school (that is the class that we are in when we are 13 years old which is the first year of college based on british system) I got introduced to design and technology and then the teacher would teach us about heat insulators (If I remember correctly) and did mention how we would bring food and keep them warm with the use of newspapers and cardboard.
Step 19: 19 - Recycle With Other Companies
If you don't know what to do with cardboard and have much of it, there are many companies that would gladly take them and recycle. Now many recycle companies are even installing collection bins that people can drop in their boxes and then they will collect.
Better give so that they can give a second life.
Step 20: 20 - Use As Ruler or Straight Lines
Cardboard boxes are always perfectly made and it is very easy to tear the box where a small piece can be removed and used as ruler to ger a straight line or even to get a 90 degree angle.
I used the cardboard to make lines on the tiles and draw onto which I later drilled and removed the pieces. see the example from the picture. its not fully straight as while I was trying to remove the debris, more of what was needed came out.
Step 21: 21 - Use to Level and Stabilise
When I was working in furniture making, Usually the floor would not be leveled or even if the floor was leveled our wood structure would need adjusting and this meant that we needed to redo the thing. What we would usually do to get the level or alignment right was to use cardboard and put it where it needed to be such as under the leg or a corner.
The advantage with cardboard is that the thickness can be adjusted easily with just simply folding the cardboard piece or just tearing and making it flat.
Step 22: 22 - Use As Door Stopper
I have been seeing people and myself included to use piece of cardboard to stop the doors from closing and setup when open in a desired position. Its easy, fast and cheap.
Tear a piece and then just fold to get the right thickness until it will be a tight fit an lock the door in place.
Step 23: 23 - Use As Mat to Work Under Vehicles
When needed to go underneath a vehicle usually it will be concrete or dirt one needs to go down bare on clothing and just figure things out which is uncomfortable and make clothing dirty with tears on usually. Instead of going under bare, take a large or small piece of cardboard and lay down on the floor then lay down on it and work under the vehicle.
Step 24: 24 - Egg Cardboard Box
Egg cardboard box can be used as seed starters. When the seed has grown just use scissors and cut each individual egg tray and transfer each plant with the tray into the soil. The plant will develop and in time the tray will degrade and become one with the soil.
Step 25: 25 - Prevent Weed From Growing
In many plantations such as pineapple I saw that people would place black plastic on the grown to prevent weed from growing and also to prevent any needs of maintenance. Then the idea came where instead of putting plastic just lay down cardboard and make a hole for only the plant that will grow out of it.
This is suitable for plants that don't take much time to grow as with time the cardboard will degrade and encourage the growth of other plants/weeds .
Step 26: 26 - Keeping the Room Hot
Many of us tried something where they would try to get hot air in to maintain the room temperature but many times unable to properly put the fan on which will lead to hot air leaking and requiring more power to heat the room.
One way is to put cardboard all over the room floor as this will keep the heat in and just make sure that you dont spill water or walk on it with dirty shoes as you will need to replace. The second is to put cardboard in areas where air tends to leak and use tape to put it in place. Temporary fixes but works.
Step 27: 27 - Let Cool Air Inside and Insects Outside
During the summer especially in tropical countries like mine, the temperature becomes high and being inside is almost unbearable. One way is to open up windows and then let the air in which is good but it also attracts insects like cockroaches and especially mosquitoes.
There are two ways in doing this, the first one is to open your window and measure the inside that would house the external window, then cut the cardboard to the length and size of the opening. Once done verify the it fits in well with very little gap, once done start take sharp object, a nail did it for me and start punching as many holes as you can in the cardboard. once done just affix it to the window pane
the second way is to continue with the same in the measuring process. This time though just cut the inside of the cardboard to get the frame and inside you can put cloth or some kind of thin cloth that will allow air to pass through and then tape or affix the cloth to the cardboard.
Step 28: 28 - Put Kittens in Boxes
Cats love to play and sleep in boxes. We don't like to have the smaller ones in the house as they will do their excrements and urine everywhere. What we do is have boxes that we have in our outdoor veranda that is covered. Then the cats have access to the whole yard where they can go in and do their needs but also play and have the shelter of the veranda and sleep comfortably in their boxes whenever they want to and feel like.
Step 29: 29 - Cats Litter Boxes
Use flat cardboxes that are a bit large, then fill about half with soil and put inside. This will allow the cats to go in and do their needs. Do not put little soil as when they do their needs it might get too wet and leak which you don't want.
The boxes can be reused two to three times then needs changing.
Step 30: 30 - Help Move Heavy Objects
I do this usually for heavy furniture to move around that is heavy and in constraint areas that is difficult to move. Get a piece of cardboard up to you to get the length, then have someone lift up the furniture and put the cardboard underneath then let the furniture back down.
From there just left the cardboard and pull which in turn will help to move the furniture where it needs be. This can be applied to other objects as well like washing machines and dryers.
Step 31: 31 - Temporary Indications
When I worked for an event management company, we realised that we had run out of indication signs and there was a change where people needed to go to enter the area. The last resort we used bending wire and cardboard that we cut to indicate the directions that people would need to take and just hang and tied everything on the way to the venue.
We had to do this due to last minute changes and that was 2 hours before the opening of the event. The first main access was flodding and muddy so had to revert to another way.
Step 32: 32 - Storage for Pointy Objects Such As Nails
When buying nails in pounds each time that I am travelling with I need to take extra precaution and the nails will tear and plastic bag and hit me each time with every step that I make. With smaller shipping boxed that I get my stuffs in, I just transfer all the nails in which make it easier to carry around, durable and little risk to easily punch through the cardboard box which makes everything very convenient.
Step 33: 33 - Store Needles
This came up from a bad experince where I had needles and pins that I saw on the ground and gave me fear of it feels by getting poked at whether feet or anywhere else. Since those were obtained left and right we didn't have anything to store them properly and instead will be left where we would use them.
Then it came to my attention that I could put them in a piece of thin cardboard that would be easy to store and find.Just get a piece of cardboard, poke the needle on one end continue your way and then poke it again at the other end to properly store and secure it.
Step 34: 34 - Bird Trap
We would do this at primary school with other friends just for fun and then release the bird afterwards.
Simple things are needed:
- Cardboard box
- Stick (any materials)
So first you need a box and make sure that the opening edges are either torn off or taped ad this might end in the way when trying to capture the bird.
Once this out of the way tie the rope to the stick then put the box up side down and lift the box so that the edge is on the ground and the other edge lies on the stick. Put the box out in the open and put some food underneath and wait for the birds to come. Once they are unde the box just pull the string which in turn will let the box down and then the birds will be caught.
Step 35: 35 - Security Sleeve for Machete and Sheers
Being always near those objects as I need to clear up bushes and clean up my yard, it came to me that these are dangerous especially when they have been sharpened and that we need to carry around.
One easy way is to put it in a big cloth bag or in a casing which is ccumbersome to carry around which I am not a fan of as it takes much time and usually gets tangle when putting inside and removing.
An easy way is to use cardboard which I cut and fold in two pieces and make it longer than the sheers and machete. Then I just tape the end or tie it with a piece of rope or cloth and its easy and secure. It won't also accidently poke someone or cut.
Step 36: 36 - Protect Surface When Cutting
From previous bad experience, I cut pieces of paper with my cutter and underneath I didn't put anything. In the middle of the cutting while moving the pieces around, I discovered the mess that I had done to the wooden table and was scolded by my mom.
In order to prevent damaging any surface that one might be cutting stuffs through, use a piece of cardboard and put underneath then put the material to be cut on top which in turn while cutting will tear through the cardboard and leave the surface intact.
Step 37: 37 - Electronics DIY Art
With electronics platform like arduino and others emerging it is an excellent way to use cardboard which is cheap and readily available to use in conjunction with the project such as making a face in cardboard and then animate it leds for the eyes , move the mouth with a motor etc...
The ideas are endless here and its just how easy it is to adapt cardboard and transform.
Step 38: 38 - Floor Protection During Renovation
During renovation especially when moving scafolding, ladder, and other equipments it is very easy to damage the floor. One way is to bring cardboard and lay down onto the path that will be used for the renovation purposes. This will prevent and minise the amount of damage caused and construction debris can also be easily clean up after wards.
Step 39: 39 - Removing Loose Paint From the Ceiling Using a Shoe Cardboard Box
Over the years and the humudity level high inside, my paint on the walls and ceiling became loose and starting to fall which sometimes I can see like snowflakes falling down. It can become a health hazard sepecially when I was eating and I saw those particles down.
I could easily wait until I could get help and buy new paint to began cleaning up the different rooms and risk being sick or start immediately. I started immediately and the big issue was that there were many things to move and I didn't want to move anything. So I took a Shoe cardboard box and a putty knife came close to the falling paint pieces and scratch and remove the particles which would easily fall into the box and not making a mess.
Step 40: 40 - Start a Fire in Wind
We all know how difficult it is to start a fire when the wind is blowing and while we trying to block it. One easy way is to use cardboard block the wind from the different sides and then try to start the fire which will be easier since there will be little resistance and from there can just carry on with letting the fire to properly take off.
Step 41: 41 - Protect Against Water Splashing
While waiting on the busstop or even walking around during the rain when vehicles are passing around and there are water pot holes, many times I will get splashed on and get wet and dirty.
If you happen to have a decent size of cardboard you can walk or stay in one area and put the cardboard face to the road. While in this position you can prepare yourself in the eventual situation where a vehicle is coming to hide behind the cardboard and let the water splash on which will save you especially if you have an important meeting.
Step 42: 42 - Being a Business Owner or Working in a Company
Businesses and companies especially those in the consumables have truckloads of boxes that they have no use for and just throw away. Many have customers such as hypermarkets have started to find good use of those boxes like making a corner where people can come and take to put their groceries in instead of just buying plastic bags. Others are also direclty giving to other recycling companies to be recycled and reused.
So as a company and business there are ways that things can be done its up to you and if you know someone just share the info and they can do the same.
Step 43: 43 - Use As Protection / Shock Absorber
Too many times that I have seen and even experince moving something big around the house that while moving around or close by will hit and damage things in the way such as furniture, paint etc...
Ways of preventing those to happen is to use pieces of cardboard that can be taped around edges on the objects that are being moved or just tape the cardboard pieces on edges of things that are on the way.
Step 44: 44 - Locking Cardbox Without Tape
Many times that we get to use a cardboard box to put things in and move around is great. However when trying to close the box fast and easy so that stuffs don't get out, I always struggle to find scissors and tape so that just to tape it and move along without making things to fall over.
Then I got to experience with some people who would always use the cardboard top openings and fold them in a way that it will lock into place and prevent stuffs from falling over without the need to seal with tape or anything.
so on how to do it?
step 1 have the box on side with top open in front of you
step 2 fold the first piece in front of you first down
step 3 fold the second piece on the left
step 4 fold the third piece on the front of you
step 5 fold the right piece down and hold it at the same time take the first side that you put down and only lift the corner that will force the piece to lock everything else in place.
That's it you have locked your box cardboard box without tape.
Step 45: 45 - Cardboard As Mould
Many times when pouring concrete there are gaps inbetween that needs to be patched else the the concrete will run off and create a hollow space which might make the structure that we are building to become weak.
One way to patch the hole or to retain the concrete is to use a piece of cardboard that will be put in the hollow space and supported by a piece of wood or stone or nail depending on which condition to use it. Afterwards the concrete can be put in place which will be retained and dried.
Step 46: 46 - Unstuck a Vehicle
Many times that vehicles are stuck whether sand or dirt it is difficult to get the vehicle out and if forced by accelerating the wheel will further dig into the ground immobilising the vehicle much more. By using cardboard put underneath the wheels which will give trackion when moved.
To be noted: if the vehicle is fully stucked in the ground cardboard won't be of much use. The best case to use cardboard is on light vehicles that have not yet fully dig and trap the tires. Also if the vehicle is front wheel drive put the cardboard on the rear wheel that wont spin else it will just make the cardboard to fly off. If it is rear wheel drive then put in the front wheels. Usually four wheel drive vehicles can get out. Better put the vehicle in neutral and have people or vehicle to push or pull which will make the vehicle to get out easily by slow movement.
Step 47: 47 - Fan Use
Usually in hot weather when the air does not move well. Just tear a piece of cardboard and use it as Fan to move the air around and try to cool off.
This square piece is enough to fan onself.
Step 48: 48 - Bookmark
For many people who still read physical books, when reaching out in the book and need to save for later reading either we would put the book upside down and then come back and pickup where we left or have an insert inbetween the pages.
By cutting a piece of cardboard we can decorate it or just put is as is so as to put our mark in a book and to enable us to return to it with ease later on.
Step 49: 49 - Smartphone Stand
By cutting pieces of cardboard we can make a smartphone stand that we can assemble and dissamble and lay flat which can be brought anywhere.
It is very easy and simple to do.
Step 50: 50 - Face Masks
Very simple and fast to just use cardboard to make face masks. you will need:
Get your cardboard and cut it to the size of your head or if you know LMFAO -party rock anthem they have a robot head made out of cardboard which is fun but a bit complicated.
so for easy part just cut the pieces that you need, then make designs using the markers and cut holes for eyes and mouth. thats all done :)
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